ICMA Code of Ethics

ICMA

I will be traveling to the ICMA Annual Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina later this week and this reminds me of a very important aspect of my job.  As a member of the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), I am required to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics, originally adopted in 1924 and periodically amended, that serves as the foundation of the local government management profession and standard of excellence.  Members of ICMA pledge to uphold these principles in their personal conduct and decision-making for the communities they serve.

I am very proud to be part of a professional organization that strongly promotes ethical behavior, conduct, and governance.  Below are the tenets that guide my everyday approach to serving as the City Manager of Piqua.

The mission of ICMA is to create excellence in local governance by developing and fostering professional local government management worldwide. To further this mission, certain principles, as enforced by the Rules of Procedure, shall govern the conduct of every member of ICMA, who shall:

Tenet 1

Be dedicated to the concepts of effective and democratic local government by responsible elected officials and believe that professional general management is essential to the achievement of this objective.

Tenet 2

Affirm the dignity and worth of the services rendered by government and maintain a constructive, creative, and practical attitude toward local government affairs and a deep sense of social responsibility as a trusted public servant

Tenet 3

Be dedicated to the highest ideals of honor and integrity in all public and personal relationships in order that the member may merit the respect and confidence of the elected officials, of other officials and employees, and of the public.

Tenet 4

Recognize that the chief function of local government at all times is to serve the best interests of all people.

Tenet 5

Submit policy proposals to elected officials; provide them with facts and advice on matters of policy as a basis for making decisions and setting community goals; and uphold and implement local government policies adopted by elected officials.

Tenet 6

Recognize that elected representatives of the people are entitled to the credit for the establishment of local government policies; responsibility for policy execution rests with the members.

Tenet 7

Refrain from all political activities which undermine public confidence in professional administrators.  Refrain from participation in the election of the members of the employing legislative body.

Tenet 8

Make it a duty continually to improve the member’s professional ability and to develop the competence of associates in the use of management techniques.

Tenet 9

Keep the community informed on local government affairs; encourage communication between the citizens and all local government officers; emphasize friendly and courteous service to the public; and seek to improve the quality and image of public service.

Tenet 10

Resist any encroachment on professional responsibilities, believing the member should be free to carry out official policies without interference, and handle each problem without discrimination on the basis of principle and justice.

Tenet 11

Handle all matters of personnel on the basis of merit so that fairness and impartiality govern a member’s decisions, pertaining to appointments, pay adjustments, promotions, and discipline.

Tenet 12

Seek no favor; believe that personal aggrandizement or profit secured by confidential information or by misuse of public time is dishonest.

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New South Main Street Lane Configuration

South Main

You may have noticed the new lane configuration on South Main Street that has recently been installed.  The new configuration provides for a center turn lane and bike lanes.  These lane alignments are recommended by the Department of Transportation and have proven to reduce accidents and provide a much safer transportation system.  This configuration is sometimes referred to as a “Road Diet”.

The center lane allows for vehicles to make turns into businesses without being in a travel lane.  Especially on a foggy morning, it reduces the possibility of coming upon a stopped vehicle trying to turn.  The additional bike lanes allow for workers who bike to work to travel more safely in the designated lanes.  Businesses in this area requested these types of changes to help improve the safety of drivers, bikers, and pedestrians.

I understand that change is sometimes difficult for a community, but these types of changes are needed, not only for safety, but to attract young professionals, skilled workers, new business, and visitors to Piqua.

To help you understand the benefits of the changes being made, I’m posting some of the misconceptions of the impacts and debunking the myths.

“The roadway was designed as four lanes due to the traffic volumes and reducing the thru lanes from two to one in each direction will increase congestion.”

  • Traffic engineering studies have demonstrated that on roads used by fewer than 20,000 vehicles per day, road diets have a minimal or positive impact on vehicle capacity.  The traffic volume on Co Rd 25-A south of Piqua is 6,200 vehicles per day.

“The new striping will increase crashes.”

  • Road diets decrease by 70 percent the frequency of people driving more than 5 mph over the speed limit and actually reduce rear-end collisions and sideswipe crashes by slowing vehicle speeds.  Research indicates the implementation of a road diet will result in a 19 to 47 percent reduction in crashes.

“Road diets are bad for business.”

  • Road diets result in slower speeds, better sight lines and are safer for both through vehicles and local traffic, and center-turn lanes provide motorists with an easier and safer way to make right and left turns, including for entering and exiting driveways.

“Road diets slow down emergency responders.”

  • A road diet accommodates emergency vehicles without increasing response times.  Drivers can pull into bicycle lanes to move out of the way, and a center turn lane can be used by responders needing to pass other vehicles.

“People don’t like road diets.”

  • With thousands of road diets completed nationwide, there are few reports of any being reversed.  On the contrary, road diets are proving to be effective, safe and popular.  Many communities are reporting that many residents often initially oppose road diets; however, after completion they find that nearly 95 percent of residents are supportive of the changes.

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Police and Fire Public Safety Levy

Fire & Police 2

A Public Safety Income Tax Levy will be on the ballot this November for Piqua voters to decide whether to approve an increase in funding for the Police and Fire Departments.  The 0.25% increase would generate an additional $1 million to be used solely for police and fire operations and equipment.

Over the past few years, the State of Ohio has reduced funding to local governments which has impacted the City of Piqua by an annual amount of $500,000.  In addition, the state eliminated the Estate Tax which generated as much as $1 million annually for the City of Piqua that helped fund these departments.  These funding reductions resulted in Police Officer and Firefighter positions not being filled and equipment replacement delayed.  The city was fortunate to receive a SAFER grant in 2013 which funded six (6) Firefighters for a two year period.  That grant will end in March 2015.

A citizens group, Citizens for Public Safety, is supporting the levy and providing information to voters about why the additional funding is needed.  Below are specific questions and answers to help address citizen inquiries that have been prepared by the Citizens for Public Safety.

Q: How will the additional tax revenue from the 0.25% public safety income tax increase be utilized?

A: The increased revenue will pay for the addition of FIVE new Police Officers and retention of the SIX Firefighters currently funded through the SAFER Grant.  It will generate approximately $1 million annually. Any remaining funds will go to operation and equipment needs.

Q: Who will and will not be paying this additional income tax?

A: City income tax is NOT collected on income from social security, pensions, unemployment benefits, military pay, public assistance, or alimony received.  In addition, interest, dividends, and capital gains are NOT taxed.

Q: How serious a problem is crime in Piqua and how do we compare to other cities our size?

A: The City of Piqua belongs to an organization which allows us to compare Piqua to other municipalities across the United States.  Piqua has one of the highest property crime rates in the nation for communities our size.  Piqua had 1,056 property crimes in 2013 compared to the national average of 342.  In Ohio, Piqua has the 7th highest rate of forcible rape of all cities, and the HIGHEST for a city our size in the nation.  Piqua is routinely higher than similar cities in the number of alcohol-related and theft-related crimes.  In 2013, Piqua Police Officers accounted for about 18% of all law enforcement officers in the county, but filed 23% of the criminal charges in Miami County Municipal Court.

Q: Will salaries of current members of the Police and fire Departments be increased?

A: NO. The additional levy funding will not increase salaries for either department.

Q: Why do the Fire and Police Departments need the additional staffing?

A: In short, the additional staffing is about keeping the community/neighborhoods safe and protecting families.  Crime rates are up in Piqua resulting in the highest rate of property crimes in the nation for a community our size.  Piqua also has one of the highest forcible rape rates in the state and nation.  The Police Department is called upon to deal with problems related to decreased jail space, fewer mental health resources, and inadequate recovery programming for those suffering from substance abuse addictions. Our Fire Department has experienced an annual increase in emergency runs in recent years.  Emergency calls/runs increased 20% from 2012 to 2013.

Q: How does the Piqua Police Department compare to other departments in our area in terms of staffing and budget?

  • The Piqua Police Department has 30 sworn officers;
  • Piqua ranks in the lowest 20% of cities for police staffing;
  • Troy and Sidney generally operate with six to 10 MORE officers than Piqua’;
  • The average population for cities in Ohio with a similar number of officers (30) is 4,000 fewer citizens than Piqua;
  • Our Police Department compares operation and maintenance costs to other cities on a per-capita basis. In 2012, our budget was $196 per citizen while the average for a city our size was $206;
  • As a city with a high crime rate and low staffing levels, police officers handle many more crime investigations than officers in other police departments. This limits time for patrol and proactive policing which is what contributes to lowering crime rates and helping citizens feel safe.

 

How does the Piqua Fire Department compare to other departments in our area in terms of staffing, budgets, and number of runs?

 

 

  • The Piqua Fire Department has 32 Firefighters/Paramedics (including Command Staff); a 2014 budget of $4,053,708; and received 4,044 emergency calls in 2013;
  • The Sidney Fire Department has 34 Firefighters/Paramedics(including Command Staff); a 2014 budget of $4.5 million; and received 3,126 emergency calls in 2013;
  • The Troy Fire Department has 38 Firefighters/Paramedics (including Command Staff); a 2014 budget of $5.1 million, and received 8,561 emergency calls in 2013 – – NOTE: The Troy Fire Department, with multiple stations and staffing, sends a fire vehicle as a chase for EMS assistance and records these instances as BOTH a fire and an EMS run while Piqua Fire Department utilizes a chase vehicle but only records as ONE run.

Q: Will the police and fire departments share equally in the additional funds?

A: Yes, but funding may vary from year to year based on each department’s need at a future time.

Q: Why are the citizens of Piqua being asked to increase the city income tax?

A: Purely for the safety of the community and our families.  The additional personnel allows for quicker fire and emergency responses, and to fight and deter the growing crime incidents.

Q: What has the city done to save money for the public safety departments?

A: The city has eliminated vacant positions, deferred pay increases, obtained  grants to purchase needed equipment, conducted performance measurement to find savings, and reduced operating budgets.

Q: What have the unions in these departments done to save money for the departments?

A: The unions have agreed to eliminate pay increases and operation changes, absorb increases in health insurance costs, assist with grant writing to obtain funding for operations and equipment, and find cost savings for the departments.

Q: What was the use of the SAFER Grant for the past two years? Why can’t the SAFER Grant be renewed and why was the funding spent totally on personnel?

A: The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grants (SAFER) provided funding directly to fire departments to help them increase the number of trained, “front line” Firefighters available in their communities.  The goal of SAFER was to help the local fire departments’ abilities to comply with staffing, response and operational standards established by the National Fire Protection Agency.  The grant funding is specific and had to be used for salary and benefits and only for a two-year period.  The SAFER grant was only to be used as a bridge to temporarily hire Firefighters until permanent funding can be obtained.  The Fire Department applied for the SAFER grant in August of 2012. Permanent funding was sought from a Public Safety Levy in November of 2012 which failed.  SAFER grants are not renewable. 

Q: What additional services have come from the SAFER Grant and how will they be impacted by the passage or failure of the income tax increase?

A: The SAFER grant’s major impact is SAFETY.  Inadequate staffing levels expose citizens to increased risks, drains the Fire Department limited resources, and stresses the emergency response system.  There is a direct correlation between decreasing crew size and an increase in expected life, property, and economic losses for citizens.  The additional Firefighters help Piqua meet the minimum recognized standard of 15 Firefighters on the scene of a structure fire and increase our ability to fight fires and rescue victims.  Prior to the SAFER funding, the department had 19 documented fire responses in 2011 where fewer than four Firefighters were available; 11 incidents involved two or fewer firefighters, and three incidents which resulted in no fire units available to respond and relying initially on mutual aid.  This would be the reality of a failure of the levy.

Q: What will this increase cost a citizen working or living in Piqua?

A: A citizen with an earned income of $30,000 a year will pay an additional $75.00 per year or $1.44 per week.

Q: What constitutes a run for Fire and Police? Is accompanying the police considered a fire call/run?

A: The Fire Department statistically tracks runs based on the nature of the call and information received through the emergency system.  It is not the policy of the Fire Department to accompany the Police Department, but if requested, it would be recorded as a run based on the type of assistance needed (medical or fire).  Police agencies tend to shy away from “calls-for-service” comparisons due to the broad range of definitions of a “call.”  The Police Department is always advised of Fire/EMS runs, but rarely accompanies the Fire Department unless the address is known to be dangerous or the type of run indicates both a crime and an injury have occurred.

Q: Why did the Fire Department accept a grant to hire six firefighters for only two years knowing we would need more money to keep them beyond that time?

A: Solely to provide the best fire and emergency service to the community and the protection of Piqua citizens/families.  The additional staffing allows for quicker response to multiple calls and reduces overtime costs by almost 50 percent.

Q: Some communities employ part-time firefighters to be called in fire emergencies and has this been considered or should it?

A: It has been considered, but although this may work in large urban areas, this is not the best service option for Piqua.  Part-time employees must constantly be replaced or may not be available to work or respond when really needed.

Q: In our current weak economy, most people have been forced to cut budgets. How has this been done by our Police and Fire Departments?

A: Both departments have eliminated positions, reduced operating budgets, eliminated pay increases, absorbed additional health insurance costs, and sought grants and donations to provide operational and equipment needs.  In addition, decrease of command staff and salaries, implementing user fees, reduced medic crew size, and elimination of training has taken place.

Q: How will passing the public safety levy make us safer?

A: The only way to fight some crime is to have police present or available.  The same applies to fire and emergency responses.  The additional personnel enable the departments to respond sooner and more effectively.

Q: If the levy passes, will Police do “Neighborhood Policing” and will they be more visible on the streets and in neighborhoods?

A: Increasing the number of Police Officers makes them more visible and visibility makes people feel safer.  With approval of the levy, the Police Department would continue and expand its current PROTECT Piqua Program. Beyond the perception of safety, the Piqua Police Department has adopted an “Intelligence Led, Victim Driven” philosophy.  When intelligence sources allow prediction of a crime in a specific neighborhood, the levy would provide more time to work with residents of that neighborhood on notification and prevention.

Q: What has the city done to find grants and other sources to replace the SAFER Grant?

A: All city staff and departments constantly seek grants to assist with every aspect of city government.  In 2013, over $5 million was received from grants, donations, and outside revenue sources.  Unfortunately, only the federal government provides grants to local governments for fire and police personnel.

 

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Great Economic Development News for Piqua

Rick James Dealership

The following article is reprinted from the Dayton Business Journal.  This long time vacant property which housed the Rick James Dealership is being converted to a Retail/Business Park.  We look forward to working with the Baker Family to help them fulfill their vision for this site.

Rick James Dealership Site
Senior Reporter- Dayton Business Journal

A business owner in Sidney purchased a Piqua former vehicle dealership and plans to convert it into an office and industrial center.

Thom Baker and sons Adam and Matthew formed ATM Investments LLC to purchase the former 55,000-square-foot Chevrolet dealership at 8654 N. County Road 25A in Piqua. Baker owns Wappoo Wood Products in Sidney.

Baker plans to convert the site into a 14,000-square-foot retail or office space and a 36,000-square-foot industrial facility, with hopes of attracting new employers to the area.

The project will create opportunities for area businesses to help construct the facilities, plus it will add more retail options for consumers as well as a new location for relocating companies.

“Piqua is fortunate to have local entrepreneurs that are willing to take the risk to purchase vacant facilities and turn them back into income producing properties,” said Tim Echemann, the broker with Industrial Property Brokers who represented the seller and will continue to market the property for lease. “We have a high level of interest in leasing the property now that a new owner is in place.”

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High School Internships in Piqua Prove Successful

ICMA

In 2012, the City of Piqua entered into an agreement with the Counties of Shelby, Miami, and Logan Education Service Centers to host high school students during the summer months as part of the Upper Miami Valley Local Government Management Internship Program.  The Internship Program lasts 6-8 weeks and is modeled after the Wittenburg University undergraduate internship program.

The program allows for high achieving high school juniors or seniors with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to intern with local governments to help them determine if a local government career path is something they wish to pursue.  At the completion of the internship, a stipend is paid which is held until the student enrolls in college of their choice.

Nathan Burkholder 2012  Nathan Burkholder, a graduate of Piqua High School, became our first intern in 2012.  Nathan initiated and implemented the first Piqua Play Day as part of our achieving the Playful City USA designation and has continued to voluntarily administer the event each year.  Nathan now attends Bowling Green University majoring in Public Administration and has worked part-time at the City of Piqua the last two summers.

Ryan Burch 2013  Ryan Burch interned as an upcoming senior at Piqua High School in 2013.  Ryan had a great interest in Civil Engineering and was assigned to the Engineering Department for the duration of his internship.  Ryan’s major project was to development a schematic for the Fort Piqua Plaza utilizing a computer-aided-design (CAD) system .  This summer he worked part-time in the Engineering Department and will be attending the University of Cincinnati in the fall as a Civil Engineering major.

In 2014, the City of Piqua hosted two interns.

Ryan Wolfe 2014  Ryan Wolfe, a rising senior at Piqua High School, had a great desire to pursue a Criminal Justice career and spent his internship with the Piqua Police Department.  Working closely with Police Chief Bruce Jamison, Ryan experienced the daily life of Police Officers along with administration duties.  Now a senior at Piqua High School, Ryan plans on majoring in Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati next year.

Austin Risner 2014  Austin Risner, a rising senior at Troy Christian High School, had a great interest in Finance and Economic Development and shared his time between the two departments.  Austin worked on a number of projects and demonstrated a great analytical ability.  Now a senior, he is evaluating colleges, including PENN, to determine where to continue his education.

The Upper Valley Local Government Management Internship Program has proven to be an excellent way to expose high school students to local government careers and bring in the best and brightest to the profession.  The quality of these students has been impressive and gives great hope for our future.

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Piqua Recreational Trail System

Bike Trail

We are very fortunate to have a great trail system in Piqua that not only provides for local multi-purpose use, but also connects us to much larger regional trail systems.  Many residents are not aware that the Piqua Recreation Trail System is part of the Buckeye Trail, North Country Trail, and Miami & Erie Canal Heritage Corridor systems.

Our local trail system is the northern terminus of the Great Miami Recreation Trail which connects Piqua to 330 miles of paved multi-use trails linking communities along the Great Miami River to Cincinnati.  This is the largest interconnected trail system in the nation.  Running east to west is the PATH (Piqua Activity Trail for Health) for approximately 5-miles utilizing abandoned railroad bed and bridges.  Maps of the trail are available at the Municipal Government Center and other locations throughout Piqua.

Ohio Great Corridor

Piqua is a member of the Ohio’s Great Corridor Association which promotes quality of life and riverfront investment along the Great Miami River.  The association’s vision is to make this area a destination for river visitors.

Buckeye Trail

The Buckeye Trail passes through Piqua along it’s 1444 mile route through every corner of Ohio.  It is marked with blue blazes and follows existing roads and wooded trails.  The Buckeye Trail coincides with the North Country Trail for a large part of it’s route.

NCT_7States

The North Country Trail is longest scenic trail in the United States stretching 4600 miles from New York to North Dakota and links 7 states, 10 national forests, and over 150 public lands.

Currently, planning is underway to extend the trail connections north towards Sidney, west to Covington, and east to Urbana.  This will surely make Piqua the “Trail Hub of Ohio” to go along with our belief that we have the “Best Trail System in Ohio”.

TrailSystemFinal

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Piqua Reverse Job Fair

Reverse Job Fair

The job market in the City of Piqua is booming.  Many of our local businesses are expanding and hiring and need employees.  The biggest current economic deficit in the city and throughout Miami County is a dependable workforce to fill the available positions.

It’s a known fact that more than 80% of job growth in a community comes from existing and small businesses.  Piqua businesses are doing their part in providing good paying jobs.

In order to help address this issue for both local businesses and job seekers, the City of Piqua is teaming with Miami County and the State of Ohio to conduct a Reverse Job Fair on August 26th at the Fort Piqua Plaza.

Here’s more information about the Reverse Job Fair:

Reverse Job Fair in Piqua, Ohio Are you tired of not getting results from the typical job fair? Spending all day in a busy room where it is difficult to stand out whether you are an employer or job seeker? Well the Reverse Job Fair is the solution for you! The Reverse Job Fair takes the typical job fair and “reverses” it. We put Job Ready, Job Seekers at a booth that allows them to show off their knowledge, skills, and abilities while employers get to walk around and speak to qualified candidates. We have a 100% satisfaction rate with both job seekers and employers with comments like “Great idea and concept” and “Why would employers ever go to a typical job fair again?”

On Tuesday, August 26th, 2014 from 10:00am – 2:00pm, the Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services along with Grow Piqua Now, the Piqua Chamber of Commerce, and OhioMeansJobs – Miami County will be hosting the next Reverse Job Fair. This will be for job seekers and employers in the Skilled Labor, HR, IT, Accounting, Engineering, and Manufacturing fields at the Fort Piqua Plaza (http://www.thefortpiquaplaza.com/directions.html).

Employers – The Reverse Job Fair allows you to spend anywhere from 5 minutes to the entire Reverse Job Fair talking to qualified candidates to ensure a good fit and arrange future conversations. This coordinated event matches you with job seekers who have been pre-screened to the industry and skill level required. Job seekers are prepared to market themselves by attending mandatory workshops and by having real-world interaction with local business professionals, showing their dedication to finding a job. You can evaluate each job seeker and conduct on the spot interviews as rooms will be available.

Job Seekers – The Reverse Job Fair gives you the opportunity to meet face-to-face with local hiring employers. You will have a booth with space to showcase your knowledge, skills, and abilities so that you can really SELL yourself to each employer that walks by. We will prepare you to market yourself through mandatory resume, portfolio, and interviewing workshops as well as real-world interaction with local businesses prior to the event.

Please take advantage of this opportunity.

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